Fri, Apr 06, 2007 - Page 22 News List

Chappell walks out on India job before being shown door

AFP , MUMBAI

Greg Chappell chose to walk out rather than be shown the door after it became increasingly evident that India's cricket chiefs would not extend his tenure as coach.

Chappell, the former Australian captain, sent an e-mail to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Wednesday saying he did not want to seek an extension due to "family and personal" reasons.

The decision came ahead of crucial BCCI meetings here on today and tomorrow to take stock of India's dismal World Cup performance where they were knocked out of the first round.

Just last week, Chappell had told confidants he would not resign and was keen to renew his two-year contract as coach that ended with the World Cup.

BCCI insiders said Chappell changed his mind after growing media speculation that he had fallen out with senior players, whom he is reported to have described as "a mafia" in one newspaper report.

Chappell distanced himself from the snowballing controversy, and said he would not speak until he had submitted his report to the BCCI on today.

The link finally snapped when senior pro Sachin Tendulkar responded to media reports that Chappell had blamed the unhelpful attitude of senior players for the disastrous World Cup campaign.

In a rare public outburst, the normally reticent Tendulkar said he would be hurt if Chappell had questioned his or the team's commitment.

"No coach had mentioned, even in passing, that my attitude was not correct," said Tendulkar, statistically the most successful batsman ever with a world record 35 Test and 41 one-day centuries.

"It's not that we are defending ourselves. We do realize that we played badly and, as a team, we take full responsibility for that. But what hurt us most is if the coach has questioned our attitude," he said.

Former India players and television experts, Ajay Jadeja and Arun Lal, were convinced Chappell's days were numbered ever since the World Cup ended.

"If Tendulkar was forced to speak, things must have been really bad between Chappell and the senior players," said Jadeja. "I will believe Tendulkar more than Chappell. And the BCCI also would rather stick with the players."

Lal said he had also not expected Chappell to continue.

"His mandate was to make a team for the World Cup. Maybe two years was not enough, but no one also expected such a poor performance," he said.

Under Chappell, India won 32 of their 62 one-day internationals and seven of 18 Tests. But the team faltered when it mattered most.

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